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The band Ostia was formed in the early 90's by members Justin (guitar, programming), Kylie (vocals) and Amps (bass).  Hailing from Australia, the band struck out on their career creating music that they loved and enjoyed.  In 1997 much of the world was introduced to this band with their album From The Aether which received positive feedback and reaction from fans around the world.  The album reached #2 on the Australian independant record charts and some tracks were club and radio hits in various parts of the world with contributions to a number of compilation albums as well.  After touring in support of this release, the band decided to take a break for a while...

Fast-forward to 2005 and we finally see the band get back together to start working on new material for a new release.  After ten years since their previous album, they put together a four-track EP titled Between Two Cities.  The band seems to just pick right up where they left off so many years ago bringing together their dreamy, guitar-laiden ethereal sound to just remind the world what we've been missing for the past decade.

Hopefully this won't be the last we here from this trio for another ten years.  I would like to think that this new EP is just a taste of new music to come, but time will tell.  In the meantime we have these two discs to keep us company and you can jump over to the band's website for more information and updated news.

Between Two Cities - Review

Fans that are familiar with this band from 10 years ago will love this new work, and for those that are not familiar with them, then this is a great new project and EP to add to their collection. The moods are somber, pieceful and captivating.  The style remains true to that mix of ethereal and shoegazer that fans of The Cocteau Twins, Love Spirals Downwards, Tearwave and Autumn's Gray Solace will love.  This EP can sit right alongside any release from any of these groups as a stellar work to be remembered for years.

"In The Fall" kicks it all off with just over 8 minutes of spellbinding music which slowly and softly builds through layers of guitar, slowly strumming and building after about a minute the percussion kicks in and Kylie's beautiful vocals for the final lovely sound.  At first glance at the track list and the length of this song, you might thing it's a long piece, but once you start listening, it could easily go on for another ten minutes and not be too long because of the ambient qualities that captivate the listener.  Yet it doesn't just wander along like ambient tracks do, there is a solid pattern, beat, vocals and lyrics, creating a cohesive and intelligent track.  "Strange Birds" leaves behind a bit of the dreamy ambient layers and comes right out with a moving beat, simple guitar and vocals for a simple, but beautiful piece.  "The Hundred Handed" remains simple and brings the tempo down to a slow, somber beat with minimal guitar and brings out the vocals a bit more.  This gives us a great taste of how beautiful Kylie's voice is on it's own, creating a strong force as beautiful as when it becomes another layer with the guitars and electronics.  At this point we're brought to the final piece "Land's End" which brings the tempo and mood down even more, wrapping up the album when it seems we just started.

This is a beautiful work, all four tracks are outstanding and only make listeners and fans want more.  I guess that's the main flaw with this EP, it's just to short!  We need about 30 minutes more added to the disc.  Hopefully this is just a taste of what's to come in the near future, because we want more!

Rating: 5/5

From The Aether - Review

I missed this band the first time around when this album was released in 1997, so for me this is still something of a novelty.  I can probably safely assume that many listeners in the U.S. and other parts of the world will be in the same situation, so I'm including a review of this ablum. With just seven tracks, it's not all that long, but what we're presented with is something spectacular in the realms of guitar-laiden ethereal music.

The album starts off dreamy slowly mesmerizing and captivating the listener with the lilting guitar and somber ambient soundscapes in the background as it slowly builds into "Liquescence" which seems to completely describe this track.  The flowing instruments and somber vocals blend well together for a heavenly sound.  But don't let this and other somber pieces fool you, this band has some energy in them as well with pieces like "Advocating Venus" and "Anathema" which are both upbeat and dance-friendly.  Both include some incredible cello and a moving beat to carry the soft, delicate vocals that goth music lovers can really sink their fangs into.

This entire album is spellbinding from the upbeat pieces previously mentioned to the dreamy ethereal.  There is an obvious style here that long-time shoegaze and ethereal fans will love and enjoy along the lines of The Cocteau Twins and more recent Projekt bands.  Each piece has a sort of quality and unique marker to them that with time will allow the listener to pick them out from other similar projects, whether it's Kylie's vocals, the soft moods the cello brings, the lilting guitar or moving beat, each listener will have to listen and learn what it is that attracts them to this band.  Whatever the case, this album is as much alive and welcome in my CD collection today as it would have been 10 years ago.

Rating: 5/5


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